As I get further on this windy-wending journey o’mine, I am beginning to form a somewhat strong dislike for the word ‘should’. It smacks of that moment when the kid in class who picked on you says sorry, only with the teacher looming treacherously over their head. It generates gestures about as hollow as a Hollywood air kiss and consequences about as happy as most of the standard film makers’ bank balance these days. I think, and it is but an opinion, that once upon a time the word had positive connotations and people could utter it smiling and content with its outcome. Now I’m not so sure.
Now it seems as though it marks the great chasm between thought and motion. It speaks to the disconnect between gut reaction and action. It resonates no longer with morality but a sense of (misplaced?) duty. It seems to be lacklustre in its conditional sense (should this happen, then..) and over bearing in its edicts (but everyone should…). And to me, increasingly, it’s a marker of fear and distrust. It’s a way of confining thought and motion into set, calculable, easily absorbed parameters. It means that we think we can, and are legitimate in, stop(ping) people from straying too far from ‘the path’. It implies that those other than ‘us’ will always need minding and reminding. There is an undertone of a hierarchy of understanding and knowing.
Now this is almost certainly coming from me in my current place on my current path explaining my perspective; this is not me saying you should agree with me 😉 But it is how I see it these days. I am trying, oh trying so hard, to lift the burden of expectation. Of my own expectations and my projections of others. Expectations of how I should react, of what I should allow, of how I should feel, of how far along I should be (of what length road I couldn’t begin to tell you). Of who I should be and how to manifest that consistently and correctly. It’s only when I started pushing back on those thoughts that I realised how heavy they can be. There is a video going around online of Tim Minchin giving a graduation speech. In it, he urges the audience to question their opinions. I couldn’t agree more. It’s hard but it helps me to see what I am building around myself with more clarity than before.
My time here is changing. Visas are here or closer, spirituality growing keener, new friends being made, old connections holding strong, and the distance from others growing. I am blessed with beautiful constants and benchmarks in my life. I write myself into the ether of the Internet with a boldness I couldn’t have hoped for only a year or two ago. The itch to explore and do something meaningful grows ever stronger. It feels a little like a cocoon is fracturing. It hurts but it’s good. There are words of wisdom that come to mind about not following the pack if they’re headed in the wrong direction nor paying heed to the naysayers if they’ve not achieved that which you strive for. I try to hear only what resonates.
New starts aren’t easy. If I’d known how hard it was to do, I probably never would have had the guts to do it. But I did. And here I am. And now I owe it to myself to stay on the seemingly hard route and not ‘should’ all over the path in front of me. I gather muster and try to draw pace from friends such as ‘can’ and ‘will’ and even ‘might’.